4th Grade Lenape Indian Project

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 12, 2009 in Crafts, Family Stuff, Today's Photo |

This week’s 4th grade social studies assignment was to create an ‘artifact’ for the class museum to represent life among the Lenape Indians (or Native Americans, to be politically correct).  We were looking for something different, so we decided to make some games representative of those played by the Lenape children. 

Feel free to borrow these ideas if a Lenape Indian project comes your way – I thought I’d post these to assist other frantic parents looking for ideas (I had a hard time finding some online)…

First, we made a kokolesh – this was also called the ‘rabbit game’.  There is a string tied to a stick with a small cone made of bone (ours is actually a tiny wooden flowerpot from the craft store).  The cone was kept on the string with a rabbit tail (with no rabbit tails handy, we used a cotton ball).  The object of the game is to catch the cone on the end of the stick.


Next we made a set of jackstraws – basically a Lenape version of pickup sticks.  We also marked some sticks for the game selahtiken – more points are awarded for sticks marked with lines and dots.  For this game, we just gathered some twigs (you don’t even have to be crafty to do this one!).


We also made a ‘cup and pin’ game.  The object of the game is to throw the circle into the air (for the Lenape, the cup was made of leather or bone – for our purposes, it’s a wood washer from the craft store) and catch it on the pin (again – for the Lenape it was bone;  for us, it was a wooden peg).


Another easy game to make was the ‘hand game’.  It was played with two rocks, one marked with a red dot.  The player passes one rock to the person on their right and the person on the left has to guess whether or not the rock that was passed has the dot on it.  If they’re right, they get the rocks and get a turn passing them.  Again, no craftiness required here – we just took two rocks and marked one with a Sharpie…


We also made the game mamandin – sort of a Lenape version of Yahtzee.  The game was played with handmade dice in a wooden bowl – the bowl was shaken and the total numbers on the dice were added up for points.  We used a wooden salad bowl I found at Marshall’s and some wooden cubes from the craft store that Matt marked with a Sharpie.


Finally, we made a VERY crude representation of a Pahsaheman ball – a Lenape game sort of like football.  The Lenape made the ball from deer skin and stuffed it with hair – ours is made from leftover faux fur pieces from Emily’s Halloween costume and is stuffed with plastic grocery bags.  I just sewed a quick oblong ball shape, wrong sides together, leaving a small opening to turn it inside out and to add the stuffing.  Then I stitched the hole shut…


Like I said, very crude – but I wanted it to look hand-made (didn’t I?).

So there you go – some easy Lenape game projects.  Now let’s see what sort of grade Matt gets on his report and project…

1 Comment

Jan 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for posting yours ideas….you just saved the day!



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